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There are some words that usually go together in English. Some adjectives and nouns seem right together, some verbs and nouns go together and some adverbs typically combine with certain verbs and adjectives.
  • Computer application, home address, computer program (noun with noun)
  • Firm handshake, a tight hug, heavy rain, an incurable disease (adjective with noun)
  • Undergo training, receive education, take a bath, form a habit (verb with noun)
  • Bitterly disappointed, complained bitterly (adverb with verb)
  • Completely satisfied (adverb with adjective)
  • Burst into (verb with preposition)
These combinations which sound natural are called collocations. Collocations involve different classes of words: verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs. The word combination should be acceptable in English. They shouldn't sound odd. Knowing what words usually go together is an important feature of language. This is not really easy because there are no rules that one can follow to arrive at the right combination. One can slowly learn to use the right collocations by listening and reading. A standard dictionary will be of great help to enhance one's knowledge in this area. Candidates appearing for competitive examinations are advised to enhance their knowledge in this area as it is an essential grammatical component. Paying attention to this topic guides a candidate to crack other related sections like Cloze test, Substitution, Spotting the Errors, Fill in the Blanks and Replacing the Phrase.

Examples of odd combinations are: simply identifiable, pierce holes, heavy wind, large mistake, fast shower, fast meal, etc.
Given below is the list of a few collocations to give you more of an idea about them:

Have do make
have a good time do business make a difference
have a holiday do nothing make a noise
have a problem do someone a favour make an effort
have a rest do your best make money
have lunch do your homework make progress
have sympathy make room

take break catch
take a break break a habit catch a ball
take a chance break a promise catch a bus
take a look break a record catch a cold
take a seat break someone's heart catch a thief
take a taxi break the ice catch fire
take an exam break the law catch sight of
take notes break the news to someone catch someone's attention
take someone's place break the rules catch someone's eye catch the flu

come go get
come close go abroad
come direct go astray get a job
come early go bankrupt get a shock
come into view go blind get angry
come late go crazy get lost
come on time go deaf get nowhere
come prepared go mad get permission
come right back go missing get ready
come second go online get started
come to a compromise go out of business get the impression
come to a decision go overseas get the message
come to an agreement go quiet get the sack
come to an end go sailing get upset
come to a standstill go to war get wet
come to terms with get worried
come to a total of
come under attack

pay save keep
pay a fine save electricity
pay attention save energy keep a promise
pay interest save money keep a secret
pay someone a compliment save someone\\\'s life keep calm
pay someone a visit save space keep in touch
pay the bill save time keep quiet
pay the price save yourself the trouble keep the change
pay your respects

Time Business English Classifiers
bang on time annual turnover a ball of string
dead on time bear in mind a bar of chocolate
early 12th century break off negotiations a bottle of water
free time cease trading a bunch of carrots
from dawn till dusk chair a meeting a cube of sugar
great deal of time close a deal a pack of cards
late 20th century close a meeting a pad of paper
make time for come to the point
next few days dismiss an offer
past few weeks draw a conclusion
right on time draw your attention to
run out of time launch a new product
save time lay off staff
spare time go bankrupt
spend some time go into partnership
take your time make a loss
tell someone the time make a profit
time goes by market forces
time passes sales figures
waste time take on staff

Practice test
1. We are not satisfied and will pursue the _____ further.
a) event b) affair c) matter d) substance

2. The politician's speech got a mixed_____.
a) reaction b) result c) reply d) answer

3. I thought that information was _____ knowledge.
a) common b) familiar c) known d) famous

4. He was completely absorbed _____ his book.
a) to b) in c) at d) into

5. I'm bored _____ tidying up.
a) in b) for c) with d) at

6. 'Is he coming?' 'I believe _____ .
a) so b) such c) that d) this

7. The hotel has _____ to recommend it - it's terrible!
a) few b) less c) little d) small

8. He has made a _____ deal of money.
a) Huge b) large c) great d) vast

9. She's made herself ill with anxiety _____ her exams.
a) for b) about c) with d) on

10. Do you mind if I _____ a question at this stage?
a) put b) raise c) set d) put

11. Can you explain _____ you got there?
a) that b) why c) how d) so

12. I think it shows _____ judgement to invest in training.
a) secure b) right c) sound d) true

13. Nowadays we live with very high noise _____.
a) levels b) sounds c) grades d) marks

14. I _____ need a new car.
a) completely b) badly c) totally d) wholly

15. He should _____ the blame for the delay.
a) take b) do c) have d) stand

16. The task _____ the students occupied for hours.
a) held b) kept c) stayed d) wait

17. Are you lost? Would you like me to _____ you the way?
a) make b) offer c) show d) suggest

18. People tell so many different stories; it's hard to get a true _____ .
a) description b) view  c) picture d) vision

19. The boss was very dismissive and treated his suggestion _____ contempt.
a) with b) as c) to d) in

20. If I give you the camera, make sure you _____ it to good use.
a) put b) do c) enter d) return

21. Their business plan makes sense - I think they're a _____ risk.
a) good b) safe c) well d) best

22. The war had a damaging _____ on the economy.
a) effect b) result c) outcome d) change

23. The Canary Islands get sunshine all year _____.
a) through b) round c) along d) around

24. You must do your best to _____ out of trouble.
a) keep b) go c) run d) face

25. My response varies _____ on the situation.
a) depending b) relying c) resting d) none of these

26. I was _____ amazed when he got the job!
a) deeply b) absolutely c) very d) totally

27. We're trying to _____ money for the local hospital.
a) support b) increase c) raise d) fund

28. We all wish you _____ in your new career.
a) well b) good c) fine d) bright

29. I don't know what the future _____ for us.
a) has b) holds c) gets d) saves

30. Do you mind if I _____ a suggestion?
a) put b) make c) do d) act

1) c, 2) a, 3) a, 4) b, 5) c , 6) a, 7) c, 8) c, 9) b, 10) b, 11) c, 12) c, 13) a, 14) b, 15) a, 16) b, 17) c, 18) c, 19) a, 20) a, 21) a, 22) a, 23) b, 24) a, 25) a , 26) b, 27) c, 28) a, 29) b, 30) b
Published date : 30 Jan 2014 05:04PM

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